Review: Shiver

Title: Shiver
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press (2009)
Genre: young adult, paranormal romance

In Their Words: (jacket copy)
The cold: Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyes wolf–her wolf–watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn’t know why.

The heat: Sam has lived two lives. As a wolf, he keeps the silent company of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace..until now.

The shiver: For Grace and Sam, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it’s spoken, it cannot be denied. Sam must fight to stay human–and Grace must fight to keep him–even if it means taking on the scars of the past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future.

In Mine:
I’m not usually big on paranormal romance, but I love this book. It’s so atmospheric, and I became attached to the main characters fairly quickly. Grace is pretty easy to identify with, although I do feel like she could have been a bit more fleshed-out. She’s very logical and straight-forward, which was consistent, but sometimes it made her feel a bit flat. Fortunately though, we’re not just stuck in her head; we also get to see Sam’s perspective. I totally adore Sam. He’s sweet, charming, has a dark past, and is definitely on the sensitive side, but without being an emo cliche or unbelievable. Also, unlike a lot of similar books (*cough*Twilight*cough*) he’s not a threat to Grace. There are other wolves which pose a threat, but Sam is never one of them. For some, this may take away some of the sexiness of paranormal romance, but Sam is very lovable on his own. And they somewhat defy established gender norms, because Grace is the stoic, detached-from-emotions one, and Sam is the one who waxes poetic. I also totally buy them as a couple; they feel sweet together, natural.

That said, the book does have some pacing issues. The middle really lags. I didn’t notice it while I was in the midst of it, because I was really just enjoying their sweet moments together–but once the action kicked up, I realized how much hadn’t been happening all along. Not that the rising tension isn’t there. The external conflicts are established really early on, but we kind of dance away from them for awhile. As a result, some characters could have been developed more fully (Olivia, for example, who is dealing with a wolf problem of her own), and some of the action which kicks in within the last hundred pages could have been sprinkled around more. I would have taken a stronger editorial hand towards the middle, and some of the dialogue and exposition, but overall not a bad book. The basic writing is lovely.

I feel bad going there, but it’s hard to talk about Shiver without comparing it to Twilight. If you’re Team Jacob, you’ll probably love this book.

Design:
This book is GOREGOUS. I’m tempted to underline and italicize that, and maybe throw in some exclimation marks, but I don’t want to get too carried away here. But seriously, it’d be worth it.

It’s simple and iconic, and the design carries through the book–the text throughout is actually a dark blue, which, against a light cream background, actually makes for a really relaxing effect.

Final Rating:
4/5, loved it, but it wasn’t without it’s flaws.

P.S. Maggie Stiefvater has a really good web presence, you should check out her website.

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About Lucy

If you want to get fancy, Lucy lives in Portland, OR, and has a MA in Writing/Book Publishing, with a focus on Young Adult Literature, and a heaping disregard for literary snobbishness (she was an English Major–she’s seen and spouted her fair share). She works as a social media marketer, and has dabbled in developmental editing as a freelancer.
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2 Responses to Review: Shiver

  1. Pingback: Review: The Raven Boys | Adventures in Bookland

  2. Pingback: Review: The Raven Boys | Lucy in Bookland

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